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Communism in textiles: Soviet fabrics from the 20’s and 30’s
07.18.2014
08:31 am

Topics:
Art
Design
History

Tags:
Soviet Union
USSR
communism


 
If you walked by a set of curtains made from one of these fabrics, you might not pick up on a communist star or the CCCP acronym. Many of the designs below are thematic of classical Russian art; you see lush color, dense scapes and even the odd Orientalist trope (note the pattern with the camels).

Anything more than a quick glance however, might reveal romantic depictions of farmers and factory workers, often rendered in the angular, geometric lines of Soviet Constructivism. Even more explicit are the references to Soviet ambitions of modernization. We see tractors, cars, airplanes, trains and smoke stacks—all the promise of an industrialized workers state.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
More Soviet textiles after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘The Executive Coloring Book’ is a vicious satire of post-war America (and self-important jerks)
07.11.2014
03:09 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Drugs
History

Tags:
The Executive Coloring Book


 
I had a pretty good laugh reading The Executive Coloring Book published in 1961 by Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman, and Martin A. Cohen. Even though this book is well over 50 years old, it’s witty, smart and still kinda… relatable? Who doesn’t want to pop a “pink pill” at the end of the day after working at a dull job? That’s evergreen. Timeless!

According to A Hole in the Head blog:

The early 60’s showed the strain on an America post-war populations that were struggling with the idea that they fought for freedom only to be forced to live in glass buildings and conform to the ‘status quo’. It was the age of The Apartment and The Sweet Smell of Success.

While some of its humor is dated, I got a kick out it. Maybe you will too. You may even want to print out these puppies and color them in all grey…


 

 

 

 

 

 
Read the rest after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Medieval Times: Attack of the giant killer rabbits!
07.11.2014
07:17 am

Topics:
Animals
History

Tags:
rabbits

btibbar2.jpg
 
So, you thought rabbits were cute, cuddly bundles of fun? Well, don’t be fooled, for underneath their furry exterior is a ruthless psychopath just twitching to wreak bloody vengeance with swords and axes. As academics will tell you, those who fail to learn from history are cursed to repeat it. Just look at these panels from medieval manuscripts which clearly prove giant killer rabbits did once roam the Earth battling humans for its control—and you thought Monty Python and the Holy Grail‘s “killer bunny” was a joke?

Yes, we were warned by these medieval writers, and warned again by The Night of the Lepus—which as we now know, was not just a bad trashy B-movie horror but a guide to saving the world from giant killer bunny rabbits!
 
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Rabbits lay in wait for the human to kill their dreaded enemy the dragon, before killing the brave knight.
 
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The rabbits prepared for battle.
 
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They were led by the evil killer Thumper.
 
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The giant killer rabbits showed the humans no mercy.

More Medieval killer bunnies after the hop….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Ghosts’ photobomb portraits of their loved ones

1ghoshope.jpg
 
Con-man and so-called pioneer of “spirit photography” William Hope made a tidy sum with his corny pictures of ghosts photo-bombing loved ones’ portraits.

Hope started his career in England as a carpenter, but in 1905 he quickly wised up to the potential fame and fortune that could be made from passing off double-exposed pictures as “genuine” images of ghosts. His photos achieved considerable acclaim with some notable fans including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who penned The Case for Spirit Photography in support of Hope’s work. Mind you, the creator of Sherlock Holmes was unfortunately someone who believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Yet, the need of many to be reassured of life after death encouraged Hope to form the Crewe Circle—a group of like-minded spirit photographers, which included Archbishop Thomas Colley—to make money out of bereaved families after the slaughter of World War One.

Thankfully, Hope was eventually exposed as a fraud in 1922 by “psychic investigator” Harry Price, who marked Hope’s photographic plates, which when printed proved Hope was double exposing negatives to achieve his famed spirit portraits. Price wrote in his report:

William Hope has been found guilty of deliberately substituting his own plates for those of a sitter… It implies that the medium brings to the sitting a duplicate slide and faked plates for fraudulent purposes.

It’s easy to think our super-smart minds wouldn’t have been fooled by Hope’s fakes (ahem), but one need only turn on the television to witness a host of TV mediums claiming they can talk to the dead to appreciate we’re just as dumb.

Looking at these photos, it’s not the Scooby-Doo like phantoms that intrigues me, but the faces of the sitters, and their dress—heavy wool and Tweed clothes—which must have made the wearer uncomfortable and no doubt highly odorous.
 
17ghoshope.jpg
 
18ghoshope.jpg
 
19ghoshope.jpg
 
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More ghostly portraits, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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British Falklands War telex reads like dialogue from ‘Dr. Strangelove’
07.09.2014
06:31 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
Falklands


Say what you will about this, but I’d believe Thatcher in a tank over George W. in a flight suit any day.
 
There are moments of historical record that are just so farcical, they inspire immediate concern for the competence of those who hold political and military power. Below is the final telex exchange between London and the Falkand Islands, just before the invasion was confirmed in the UK. The correspondence took place around 4:30 pm, April 2nd, 1982—well after Argentinian troops had gained control. However, the Ministry of Defence operative in London just couldn’t seem to wrap his head around the idea of an invasion. You can somehow hear the irritation from the Falklands end as they attempt some pretty easily decoded subtlety. Unfortunately, the London telex appears to be manned by the most literal human being on earth

LON: (London): HELLO THERE WHAT ARE ALL THESE RUMOURS WE HEAR THIS IS LON
FK: (Falklands): WE HAVE LOTS OF NEW FRIENDS
LON: WHAT ABOUT INVASION RUMOURS
FK: THOSE ARE THE FRIENDS I WAS MEANING
LON: THEY HAVE LANDED
FK: ABSOLUTELY
LON: ARE YOU OPEN FOR TRAFFIC IE NORMAL TELEX SERVICE
FK: NO ORDERS ON THAT YET ONE MUST OBEY ORDERS
LON: WHOSE ORDERS
FK: THE NEW GOVERNORS
LON: ARGENTINA
FK: YES
LON: ARE THE ARGENTINIANS IN CONTROL
FK: YES YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH THOUSANDS OF TROOPS PLUS ENORMOUS NAVY SUPPORT WHEN YOU ARE ONLY 1600 STRONG. STAND BY.

After that the line went dead, because the Argentinians fucking cut it. This is because—and I’m not sure if you caught this—Argentinian troops had descended upon the island and they are in control now. Where is your common tongue, Falkland Brits? There can be no *wink-wink-nudge-nudge* in war time! Did you learn nothing from the candid diplomacy of President Merkin Muffley?!? This is why the sun now sets on the British Empire!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Polari: The secret language of gay men

polarisjs.jpg
 
“How bona to vada your dolly old eek” may sound like gibberish, but it is in fact a warm greeting often used by gay men in England between the 1930s and early 1970s. It literally means: “How good to see your lovely/pleasant face,” and is a delightful example of the secret language Polari.

Polari comes from the Italian word “pralare” meaning “to talk” and is a mixture of Lingua Franca, Yiddish, Italian, Cockney, and slang and was a common language used by circus performers, actors, sailors, criminals, and prostitutes in the UK and Ireland from the late 16th century on. In the 1930s, Polari became the secret language for gay men to gossip in public, cruise for partners and identify one another. Polari fell out of use in the late sixties, after the UK government decriminalized homosexuality in 1967. It also fell out of favor with the more politically correct gay liberationists who saw Polari as an outdated and unhelpful stratagem.
 

 
Yet, Polari persists to be used today, and for anyone who wants to zhoosh up their vocab, then have varder at this beginner’s guide to Polari:

ajax  -  nearby
alamo  -  hot for you/him
aunt nell  -  listen, hear
aunt nells  -  ears
aunt nelly fakes  -  earrings
aunt nell danglers  -  earrings
barney  -  a fight
basket  -  the bulge of male genitals through clothes
batts  -  shoes
bibi  -  bisexual
bitch  -  effeminate or passive gay man
bijou  -  small/little
blag  -  pick up
blue  -  code word for “homosexual”
bod  -  body
bona  -  good
bona nochy  -  goodnight
bonaroo  -  wonderful, excellent
bungery  -  pub
butch  -  masculine; masculine lesbian
buvare  -  a drink
cackle  -  talk/gossip
camp  -  effeminate
capello/capella  -  hat
carsey  -  toilet, also spelt khazi
carts/cartso  -  penis
cats  -  trousers
charper  -  to search
charpering omi  -  policeman
charver  -  to shag/a shag/ have sex
chicken  -  young man
clobber  -  clothes
cod  -  naff, vile
cottage  -  a public lavatory used for sexual encounters
cottaging  -  seeking or obtaining sexual encounters in public lavatories
cove  -  friend
crimper  -  hairdresser
dally  -  sweet, kind
dilly boy  -  a male prostitute
dinari   -  money
dish  -  buttocks/backside
dolly  -  pretty, nice, pleasant
dona  -  woman
dorcas  -  term of endearment, “one who cares”
drag  -  clothes, esp. women’s clothes
doss  -  bed
ecaf  -  face (backslang)
eek  -  face (abbv. of ecaf)
ends  -  hair
esong  -  nose
fantabulosa  -  fabulous/wonderful
feele/freely/filly  -  child/young
fruit  -  queen
funt  -  pound
gelt  -  money
handbag  -  money
hoofer  -  dancer
HP (homy polone)  -  effeminate gay man
jarry  -  food
jubes  -  breasts
kaffies  -  trousers
khazi  -  toilet, also spelt carsey
lacoddy  -  body
lallies  -  legs
lallie tappers  -  feet
latty/lattie  -  room, house or apartment
lills  -  hands
lilly  -  police
lyles  -  legs
lucoddy  -  body
luppers  -  fingers
mangarie  -  food, also jarry
martinis  -  hands
measures  -  money
meese  -  plain, ugly
meshigener  -  nutty, crazy, mental
metzas  -  money
mince  -  walk (affectedly)
naff  -  awful, dull, hetero
nanti  -  not, no, none
National Handbag  -  dole, welfare, government financial assistance
ogle  -  look, admire
ogles  -  eyes
oglefakes  -  glasses
omi  -  man
omi-palone  -  effeminate man, or homosexual
onk  -  nose
orbs  -  eyes
oven  -  mouth
palare pipe  -  telephone
palliass  -  back
park, parker  -  give
plate  -  feet; to fellate
palone  -  woman
palone-omi  -  lesbian
pots  -  teeth
remould  - sex change
riah/riha  -  hair
riah zhoosher  -  hairdresser
rough trade  -  a working class or blue collar sex partner or potential sex partner; a tough, thuggish or potentially violent sex partner
scarper -  to run off
schlumph  -  drink
scotch  -  leg (Scotch egg=leg)
screech  -  mouth, speak
sharpy  -  policeman (from charpering omi)
sharpy polone  -  policewoman
shush  -  steal
shush bag  -  hold-all
shyker/shyckle  -  wig
slap  -  makeup
so  -  homosexual (e.g. “Is he ‘so’?”)
stimps  -  legs
stimpcovers  -  stockings, hosiery
strides -  trousers
strillers  -  piano
switch -  wig
thews  -  thighs
tober  -  road
todd (Sloanne)  -  alone
tootsie trade  - sex between two passive homosexuals
trade  -  sex, sex-partner, potential sex-partner
troll -  to walk about (esp. looking for trade)
vada/varder  -  to see / look
vera (lynn)  -  gin
vogue  -  cigarette
vogueress  -  female smoker
willets  -  breasts
yews  -  eyes
zhoosh  -  style hair, tart up, mince
zhoosh our riah  -  style our hair
zhooshy  -  showy

 

 
For those who wish to learn more, then have varder at Paul Baker’s Fantabulosa: A Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang, which should improve your cackle over a few veras down the bungery.

But Polari wasn’t always kept a secret, in the 1960s, comedy writers Marty Feldman and Barry Took subversively brought Polari into every British household with their hit BBC radio series Round the Horne. Through their characters “Julian” and “Sandy,” as played by Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick, Feldman and Took were able to use Polari to get many an innuendo and double entendre-laden sketch past the BBC’s censors.

Here’s your host Kenneth Horne visiting Julian and Sandy’s “Bona Books”:
 

 
Mr. Horne visits Julian and Sandy’s “Bona Suits’:
 

 

 
Morrissey’s Bona Drag (“Nice outfit” in Polari) album and the single “Piccadilly Palare” (about male prostitutes working London’s Piccadilly Circus) brought Polari into the 1990s.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Scenes from Marc Bolan’s funeral
07.07.2014
03:49 pm

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Marc Bolan
Gloria Jones


Marc Bolan and Gloria Jones at Rod Stewart’s party at Morton’s on the night that he died.
 
Although many of his songs refer to cars, Marc Bolan himself was deathly afraid of driving, fearing a young death. Despite owning his famous white Rolls-Royce (among many other ostentatious vehicles) he never learned how to master an automobile. On September 16, 1977, two weeks before Bolan would have turned 30, returning from a party thrown by Rod Stewart, he was killed when the purple Mini being driven by his girlfriend, American soul singer Gloria Jones (she recorded the original version of Ed Cobb’s “Tainted Love”) hit a chainlink fence and then a tree near Gypsy Lane in Southwest London. Neither passenger was wearing a seatbelt. The accident occurred less than one mile from Bolan’s mansion in East Sheen.

The funeral held four days later at the Golders Green Crematorium was attended by Les Paul, Rod Stewart, Bolan producer Tony Visconti, Eric Clapton and a contingent of sobbing fans. A swan-shaped floral arrangement calling to mind Bolan’s first big hit record, “Ride a White Swan” was displayed at the ceremony. Gloria Jones, hospitalized with a broken jaw and arm was not to find out about Marc’s death until the day of his funeral. Within a few days their home was looted by thieves.

The crash site has become a shrine to his memory with fans making pilgrimages to leave flowers and tributes and is maintained by the T.Rex Action Group. Today Gloria Jones runs a charity dedicated to Bolan’s memory in Sierra Leone.

The images here are courtesy of a new website devoted to nostalgia, Flashbak and the Press Association. Follow Flashbak on Twitter and Facebook.
 

A young couple comfort each other in front of the floral white swan.
 

Members of Marc Bolan’s family. Gloria Jones’ brother, Richard Jones, in hat behind them.
 

Rolan Bolan’s godfather David Bowie—who would quietly provide for Gloria and Rolan and paid for his education—arrives at the service.
 

Rod Stewart and friend.
 

 

 

What was left of the purple Mini.

If you go to the 4:15 mark below, you’ll see color footage of Marc Bolan’s funeral.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Presidents with Boob Faces’ is perhaps the most important artistic movement of our time
07.07.2014
06:16 am

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:
presidents
boobs


George Washington
 
Emily Deutchman is the Picasso of people who do watercolors of US presidents with boobs on their faces. I mean it! I cannot fathom her equal, much less envision a successor to her artistic idiom. Her Presidents with Boob Faces series is 44 canvases of commanders-in-chief with mammaries fused to their mugs. For Lincoln, it’s the beard, for Reagan, the neck sag—it’s all very intuitive. All the paintings are based off of official presidential portraits except for Obama, which uses the Shepard Fairey graphic. And what is the purpose of her work? From her website:

Presidents with Boob Faces takes the tradition of presidential portraits and, with wry humor, subverts the solemnity of these iconic figures by transforming their faces with schoolboy “boob doodle.”

The work twists the historic grandeur of portraiture and national pomp with this lowbrow interjection. While enjoying the comedic potential of George Washington with boob cheeks, Deutchman also engages with a painterly series and the ready-made both provided by the presidential portraits. The use of the series explores the permutations of one concept played out 44 times and the possibility of diversity found in that idea.

Sometimes Deutchman uses photographs of actual boobs to append her portraiture, leaving the viewer wondering if they’re admiring a legit tit. Personally, I’m partial to the Gerald Ford—is it the smile that draws me in, or the fullness? Maybe it’s just my insatiable desire to discuss the oft-overlooked Ford administration? Should you be taken with the beauty and vision of Deutchman’s work, you’re in luck! All paintings are for sale, and she asks that you contact her at presidentswithboobfaces@gmail.com for inquiries!
 

George W. Bush
 

Ronald Reagan
 

James Madison
 

Abraham Lincoln
 
More Presidential boob faces after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Laurie Anderson on ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and ‘Yankee Doodle’
07.04.2014
07:05 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Laurie Anderson


 
In this highly amusing “personal service announcement” shot sometime during the 1980s in the smoky kitchen of a greasy spoon somewhere, Laurie Anderson praises the lack of nationalistic bombast in our national anthem and describes “Yankee Doodle” as a “surrealist masterpiece.” The clip can be found on her Collected Videos, released in 1990. Unfortunately, it’s available in VHS format only.

Anderson is a national treasure—I can’t think of anyone else delivering a disquisition this thoughtful, original, whimsical, vivid, and bizarre (in the loveliest sense). As it happens, I agree with her on both counts. We’ve heard an awful lot of national anthems during the World Cup, and “The Star-Spangled Banner” is one of the finest out there; of course, “Yankee Doodle” is delightfully silly.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Le Cabaret de L’Enfer: Turn of the century Paris nightclub modeled after Hell
07.02.2014
06:53 am

Topics:
History
Occult

Tags:
Paris


 
As a general rule, theme bars are embarrassing affairs. You have your corny waitstaff, your overly literal decor and a sense of forced performance that’s… annoying. Once in a blue moon though, there has been a theme bar so fucking cool you would sell your soul to get in. Tragically, you would have to strike some kind of deal with the devil to go to Le Cabaret de L’Enfer, since the Paris red light district nightclub opened around the turn of the last century and closed sometime during the middle of it. Very little information exists on L’Enfer, but the detail in the decor is absolutely gorgeous—almost Boschian elements of twisting human, animal and skeletal forms—couldn’t you just die?

An entry from National Geographic says that the doorman and waiters dressed as Satan and an order of coffees with cognac was translated as “seething bumpers of molten sins, with a dash of brimstone intensifier.” Okay, so that’s a little bit corny, but come on, it’s a goddamn hellmouth! If you’ll notice the external photographs, some cheeky (or possibly just opportunistic) mind opened a club next door called “Ciel,” the French word for “Heaven.” I appreciate the consistency, but let’s be honest-which bar would you rather go to?
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roughly translated: “L’Enfer (Hell), the only cabaret like it in the world, every night from 8 to 2:30 in the morning, devilish attractions, torment of the damned, round of the damned, the boiler (whatever that was), metamorphoses of the damned
 
Via Retronaut

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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